Choosing a major in the School of Architecture (SOA) at UT Austin

What majors may an undergraduate applicant choose?
What is it like to major in Architecture or Interior Design?
How does the architecture program at UT Austin compare with other schools?
What is the difference between architecture and interior design?
What is the difference between architecture and architectural engineering?

Career Information

What is required to become an architect?
What is required to become an interior designer?
Where do graduates of the School of Architecture work after graduating?

Applying

How do I apply as a freshman applicant?
What is required for the application?
Do you require a portfolio?
What should I include in my application materials?
Do I need a specific class rank, GPA, or SAT/ACT score to apply or be admitted?
Are specific high school courses required?
Would it be beneficial for me to attend a community college prior to applying to the school of architecture, and would I save money?
Should I list majors from the School of Architecture as my first and second choice majors on the application?
How many students are in the School of Architecture, and how many students do you accept each year?
How do I apply for financial aid and/or scholarships?

After admission

Do you allow deferrals of the admission decision to another year?
Are new students required to attend UT Orientation?
What laptop should I purchase and when should I purchase it?
What is a supply kit and how/when should I purchase it?
How can I establish Texas residency?
What is your student to faculty ratio in design studios?
Do the School of Architecture degrees require calculus and physics?
What test scores award credit by examination?

 
 

WHAT MAJORS MAY AN UNDERGRADUATE APPLICANT CHOOSE?

We offer undergraduate degrees in architecture and interior design. To be considered for admission, you must list architecture or interior design as your first-choice major. We do not review applications in which interior design or architecture is the second-choice major. The undergraduate programs offered by the SOA include:

*Note: Students admitted to the Bachelor of Architecture + Bachelor of Science in Architectural Engineering dual degree program will complete degree requirements through the School of Architecture for the Bachelor of Architecture degree and the Cockrell School of Engineering for the Bachelor of Science in Architectural Engineering degree. Applicants are strongly encouraged to also familiarize themselves with the Cockrell School of Engineering.

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WHAT IS IT LIKE TO MAJOR IN ARCHITECTURE OR INTERIOR DESIGN?

Visit the following external sites for thorough descriptions.

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HOW DOES THE ARCHITECTURE PROGRAM AT UT AUSTIN COMPARE WITH OTHER SCHOOLS?

Our Bachelor of Architecture is consistently nationally ranked in the top 10 by DesignIntelligence. The most recent comparison of rankings is provided by Architectural Record

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WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ARCHITECTURE AND INTERIOR DESIGN?

Read about the differences between architecture and interior design.

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WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ARCHITECTURE AND ARCHITECTURAL ENGINEERING?

Read about architecture and architectural engineering.

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WHAT IS REQUIRED TO BECOME AN ARCHITECT?

There are three categories to pursue registration as an architect:  Education, Experience, and Examination. These requirements are often referred to as the “Three E's."  Texas requires the following:

Please see the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards [NCARB] website for the most up-to-date information. 
 

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WHAT IS REQUIRED TO BECOME AN INTERIOR DESIGNER?

Becoming an interior designer involves enrollment in a college or university program followed by several years of professional experience, typically under the supervision of a qualified interior designer. There is also a qualifying exam. These requirements as known as the “Three E’s”:

Please see the National Council for Interior Design Qualification [NCIDQ] website for the most up-to-date information. 
 

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WHERE DO GRADUATES OF THE SCHOOL OF ARCHITECTURE WORK AFTER GRADUATING?

Employment reports are available from the SOA's Career Services center.
 

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HOW DO I APPLY AS A FRESHMAN APPLICANT?

The UT Austin Office of Admissions processes applications for freshman admission for the SOA. To be considered for admission, you must list architecture or interior design as your first-choice major. We do not review applications in which interior design or architecture is the second-choice major.
 

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WHAT IS REQUIRED FOR THE APPLICATION?

For your convenience, below is an abbreviated list of application requirements due by the December 1st deadline, as the SOA offers admission only to the fall semester. All applications are processed by the University's Office of Admissions, so their website and office are the best sources of information.

To be considered for admission to the SOA, you must list architecture or interior design as your first-choice major. We do not review applications that list interior design or architecture as the second-choice major.
[  ] ApplyTexas application
[  ] Required essay and short-answer items (note there is a required short-answer item specifically for the School of Architecture
[  ] $75 non-refundable application fee [$90 for international applicants]
[  ] High school transcript(s) + any college transcript(s)
[  ] Student Information Form
[  ] Upload three photographs
[  ] SAT or ACT test scores [optional]
[  ] Recommendation Letter(s) [optional]
[  ] Expanded Resume [optional]

Major Specific Items for the School of Architecture:

  • Respond to the short answer prompt — What does creativity mean to you? How might your view of creativity shape your approach to your college education in a creative field? Please limit your response to 250-300 words.
  • Respond to the photograph upload prompt — Take and upload three photographs from a camera, smartphone, or mobile device that capture how you see the world. Describe what is interesting to you or what you are trying to evoke with these images. Please limit your response to 50–75 words total for all three photographs.
    • After you submit your application, you will receive a UT EID and access to the MyStatus page. Upload your three images via MyStatus, where you will see an application checklist to track your application completion and status. 

*International applicants should be aware of additional admission requirements/information.
 
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DO YOU REQUIRE A PORTFOLIO?

We do not require nor accept portfolios for freshman admissions.

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WHAT SHOULD I INCLUDE IN MY APPLICATION MATERIALS?

While the University of Texas at Austin does not require letters of recommendation, the SOA encourages you to include up to two letters of recommendation from teachers, coaches, band directors, etc. The letters may give our faculty selection committee more information about you as a person and as a participant within a larger group; they do not necessarily have to mention architecture or interior design.
 
Your essay and short-answer items may demonstrate your understanding of what it is like to major in architecture or interior design, your creativity, or your personal observations of good design.

Major Specific Items for the School of Architecture:

  • Respond to the short answer prompt — What does creativity mean to you? How might your view of creativity shape your approach to your college education in a creative field? Please limit your response to 250-300 words.
  • Respond to the photograph upload prompt — Take and upload three photographs from a camera, smartphone, or mobile device that capture how you see the world. Describe what is interesting to you or what you are trying to evoke with these images. Please limit your response to 50–75 words.

The faculty admissions committee uses a holistic review and values

  • passion for architecture or interior design

  • sense of ease in receiving and giving critique and feedback

  • ability to incorporate the provided feedback and critique into changing your design

  • comfort with ambiguity

  • capabilities in making decisions

  • ​ability to collaborate or work in groups

The design-based education in architecture and interior design is an open-ended process, involving multiple iterations to reach a final design. You may discuss your interests in selecting a design-based major.

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DO I NEED A SPECIFIC CLASS RANK, GPA, OR SAT/ACT SCORE TO APPLY OR BE ADMITTED?

We do not have minimum admissions requirements but admitted students typically fall in the top quarter of their class, have a high school GPA of 3.0 or above, and have a high SAT or ACT test score.

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ARE SPECIFIC HIGH SCHOOL COURSES REQUIRED?

The Office of Admissions maintains minimum high school course requirements for freshman application eligibility.  Refer to the Office of Admissions website for information on these course requirements. The SOA does not impose additional requirements.
 
Note: Prospective applicants with an interest in applying to the Bachelor of Architecture + Bachelor of Science in Architectural Engineering dual degree must also meet the requirements for admission to the Cockrell School of Engineering.

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WOULD IT BE BENEFICIAL FOR ME TO ATTEND A COMMUNITY COLLEGE PRIOR TO APPLYING TO THE SCHOOL OF ARCHITECTURE, AND WOULD I SAVE MONEY?

Unfortunately, for professional design-based degrees in architecture and interior design, attending community college first adds cost and time to the ultimate completion of the professional degrees. The most efficient means of attaining a professional undergraduate degree in architecture or interior design is to apply as a freshman to the SOA. As you pursue your degree within the SOA, you may take community college courses in summers that allow for focus and a lighter course load during the fall and spring semesters at the University of Texas at Austin.

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SHOULD I LIST MAJORS FROM THE SCHOOL OF ARCHITECTURE AS MY SECOND CHOICE MAJOR ON THE APPLICATION?

No. If an applicant is not admitted into their first major choice within the SOA, they will not be accepted into another SOA major. Therefore, your first major choice must be one of the five programs offered by the SOA, and the second choice should be a major offered in another college or school at UT Austin.

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HOW MANY STUDENTS ARE IN THE SCHOOL OF ARCHITECTURE, AND HOW MANY STUDENTS DO YOU ACCEPT EACH YEAR?

The SOA enrolls approximately 330 undergraduate students and 370 graduate students. We admit approximately 120 students from approximately 1,000 freshman applicants. 

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HOW DO I APPLY FOR FINANCIAL AID AND/OR SCHOLARSHIPS?

Please refer to the Texas One Stop website for the most current information regarding financial aid and scholarships.
 
All freshmen admitted to the SOA will be considered for SOA freshman scholarships. There is no separate application. Approximately 10% of admitted SOA freshmen will receive a scholarship offer directly from the SOA. Offers are sent from late February through late April, and are based on need and merit.

Currently enrolled School of Architecture students are eligible to apply for continuing scholarships during the spring semesters.

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DO YOU ALLOW DEFERRALS OF THE ADMISSION DECISION TO ANOTHER YEAR?

No. If you do not plan to enroll the semester to which you are admitted, you may apply again for the following fall. There is no guarantee you will be admitted again. You may lose your eligibility to apply a second time as a freshman; check with the Office of Admissions for the criteria to apply as a freshman or transfer. If you do not qualify to apply as a freshman, you must apply as a transfer applicant. Please see the eligibility rules for applying as a transfer applicant, and note that transfer applicants must be both in an architecture (or interior design) program at the school from which they are applying to transfer, and must submit a portfolio.

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ARE NEW STUDENTS REQUIRED TO ATTEND ORIENTATION?

Yes, all incoming freshmen are required to attend one of the two School of Architecture summer orientation sessions.

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What laptop should I purchase and when should I purchase it?

Admitted students receive detailed information about the school’s Student Computer Policy as well as the updated hardware recommendations during Orientation. For this reason, we strongly recommend that you purchase your laptop after Orientation. You will be advised to obtain individual software as it becomes required in courses. The instructors will communicate software requirements and list them in the course syllabus. Students often obtain the software at no cost or reduced cost as a currently enrolled student in the School of Architecture.

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What is a supply kit and how/when should I purchase it?

The supply kit is a bundled package of items required for all students in the Architecture and Interior Design programs. Many of the items will continue to be used throughout the program. The supply kit is a one-time purchase at the beginning of the first semester, and the cost may range from $650-800, as the specific items in the kit can vary from year to year. You will receive the supply kit information on the first or second class day from the Visual Communication instructors. A local vendor provides a reduced-cost supply kit that is often more economical than individually purchasing each item, but you may choose where and how to purchase the supply kit items. Students who may be bringing supplies they already own can purchase any remaining items individually. We advise everyone to not bring supplies or purchase the supply kit until you obtain your individual studio key.

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HOW CAN I ESTABLISH TEXAS RESIDENCY?

The residency specialist in the Graduate and International Admissions Center [GIAC] provides details about establishing residency and is the contact for all residency questions.

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WHAT IS YOUR STUDENT-TO-FACULTY RATIO IN DESIGN STUDIOS?

14 to 1.

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DOES THE SCHOOL OF ARCHITECTURE DEGREES REQUIRE CALCULUS AND PHYSICS?

Both calculus and physics are required for all architecture degrees. Physics is required for the Bachelor of Science in Interior Design. Applicants may take high-level math courses and physics in high school.

For interior design applicants: Calculus is not required for the interior design degree, but students may opt to use calculus to fulfill the interior design math degree requirement. Interior design students have the option to use any math course that satisfies the core curriculum for math.
 
You may earn college-level course credit for calculus, physics, and math while in high school by taking certain exams, such as Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, or SAT Subject exams or tests.

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WHAT TEST SCORES AWARD CREDIT BY EXAMINATION?

The University of Texas at Austin has a centralized Student Testing Services center that maintains credit by examination policies. You may find it helpful to also view the courses that fulfill Texas common core curriculum requirements as you are viewing the credit awarded for tests.

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